Debating whether to go through the extra trouble of staging your home before putting it on the market?
Doing so could be well worth your time, according to a report this year by the National Association of Realtors. In the survey, 62 percent of sellers’ agents nationwide agreed that staging a home decreases its time on the market, and 77 percent agreed it boosts a buyer’s ability to visualize the home as their own. A full 38 percent noted that they stage all homes prior to listing them.
The most important rooms to stage? The living room, master bedroom and kitchen consecutively, the agents said.
“Many factors play into what a home is worth and how much buyers are willing to pay for it,” notes NAR President William E. Brown. “(But) staging can be the extra step sellers take to help sell their home more quickly and for a higher dollar value."
What types of staging elements are most worth your while? Consider the following:
- Scrub everything: Your carpets, walls, floors, fireplace and screen, cupboards, counters, back splashes, appliances, showers, toilets, doors, trim, switch plates, outlet covers, windows, screens, etc. A professional cleaning service may well be in order.
- Think about repainting walls (especially dark wood paneling) white or beige to appeal to more buyers. Fill in holes first.
- Could your shabby carpet or outdated or damaged wood floors be refinished or replaced?
- Sort through all of the storage spaces throughout your home and remove most belongings to impart a sense of spaciousness. Could cabinet surfaces use new hardware or paint?
- Replace family photos and personal memorabilia on your walls with art imparting a more universal appeal.
- Replace dim, dingy light bulbs with bright ones and add lamps liberally throughout your house. Turn all of them on before a showing.
- Suggest a wealth of space by decluttering everywhere, including storage spaces such as your basement and attic. Pack away extra kitchen gear, clothing, accessories, toys, etc.
- Aim for visual symmetry in your furniture arrangements. If rooms still seem crowded, remove some pieces.
- If your upholstered furniture seems dated, consider adding light-colored cottony slipcovers.
- Strategically (and sparingly) add spots of bright color with throws and accent pillows.
- Display board games, a bottle of wine with glasses or other items suggesting relaxing leisure activities to sitting areas.
- Kitchen counter tops should contain minimal paraphernalia — perhaps just a fruit bowl or vase of fresh flowers.
- Remove magnets, photos and ephemera from your fridge and make it spotless.
- Don’t forget to clean and deodorize kitchen and bathroom drains.
- Ensure that no smell in your house suggests “dog” or “cat.”
- Set your dining room table with attractive dinnerware.
- Empty all trash cans and wastebaskets.
- If your master bedroom is overly masculine or feminine, invest in new décor so that both genders can imagine it as theirs.
- Place matching wooden or velvet-covered hangers in closets.
- Consider staging extra bedrooms as offices, craft rooms, dens or other areas with useful purposes.
- Take out all TVs and video game systems to suggest quiet and serenity.
- Turn your bathroom spa-like by investing in new towels, bath mats, soap, candles, a shower curtain and perhaps a new toilet seat.
- Re-caulk your tub/shower if needed.
- Could you update your old ceramic bathroom tile with paint made for that purpose?
- Power wash the outdoor surfaces of your house and property including your driveway, sidewalk, steps and porch.
- Does your outside entrance or door need a fresh coat of paint or stain?
- Depending on the season, consider cheerful outdoor additions such as a new pergola, lawn furniture, outdoor rug, fire pit, pots of flowers, doormat, house numbers, family game equipment and/or mailbox?
- Add flowers or mulch to tired-looking flower beds, and fill in sparse grass with sod or new seed.
- Trim and shape shrubs, especially those close to the house.
- Make your pool sparkle with invitation (a couple of colorful floats couldn’t hurt).
- Put away outdoor accoutrements such as hoses, recycling bins, wheelbarrows, kids’ toys, etc.
Finally, on the day of your open house or showing, consider the tried-and-true method of keeping yummy baked goods set on low in the oven. After all of your cleaning and prep work, that may be the last boost your home needs to seal the deal with a new buyer.